Swine Flu. From Intute.ac.uk Updated 3rd May 2009

Posted by Celia Walter | 29 Apr, 2009

Swine influenza
This is the World Health Organization (WHO) page for information about swine influenza A (H1N1). WHO is coordinating the global response to human cases of swine influenza (swine flu) and is monitoring the threat of an influenza pandemic. Information on this page gives access to both technical guidelines and information useful for the general public. Regularly updated, there is also a link provided to Frequently Asked Questions.

Swine flu
This podcast on swine flu (swine influenza) has been provided by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and has been authored by the Coordinating Center for Infectious Diseases (CCID), National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD) and Influenza Division (ID). The podcast describes swine flu and includes: signs and symptoms; transmission; medications; steps people can take to protect themselves; and what people should do if they become ill. Running time is just over 5 minutes and a transcript of the podcast is available to download.

Swine influenza
This is the swine influenza (swine flu) page of the UK Health Protection Agency (HPA). The site gives access to: Recent updates (including travel advice, management of close contacts, questions and answers for the public etc); Press releases and media updates; Advice for the public; Information for health professionals; and links to external organisations including: Department of Health, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, National Travel Health Network and Centre, NHS Choices, NHS Direct and the World Health Organization. The site is regularly updated and an RSS feed is available.

Pandemic and flu planning
This is the pandemic and flu planning page of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) website. It gives a swine flu (swine influenza) update and provides access to the RCGP's and BMA's joint pandemic flu guidance document (2008) 'Preparing for pandemic influenza' which is aimed at Practices looking to prepare for enquiries about swine flu. The latest RCGP statements on swine flu can be accessed via a link to their News Room and links are also provided to further information on swine flu, other pandemic guidance and pandemic planning documents.

Preparing for pandemic influenza : guidance for GP practices
This guidance document has been prepared by the British Medical Association's General Practitioners Committee and the Royal College of General Practitioners with the support of the Department of Health. The document sets out guidelines for business continuity planning within GP Practices and also introduces new systems and procedures such as the National Pandemic Flu Line Service, which will operate in an influenza pandemic. The document tells Practices what they need to do now and in the future in order to prepare for, and respond to, a pandemic influenza outbreak in the UK. This is the first issue of this guidance and the document will be regularly reviewed to include any new decisions as they are agreed, plus any relevant changes which relate to General Practice.

Swine influenza backgrounder
This backgrounder on swine influenza is published on the Web by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). The document briefly covers the 2009 H1N1 flu virus (a hybrid of North American swine influenza viruses), also known as swine flu. The focus of this document however is swine influenza and topics covered include causative agent, natural distribution, transmission, clinical signs, diagnosis, available treatments, and prevention and control measures. Last revised in April 2009.

Emerging Pathogens Initiative : animal pathogens
This is the animal pathogens section of the University of Florida's Emerging Pathogens Initiative (EPI) website. In relation to animal diseases, the EPI aims to “provide the tools needed to prevent foreign animal diseases and other emerging pathogens from impacting the health of Floridians, their animals and the State's economy.” Currently (October 2006) the following animal-pathogens are discussed in detail: African Horse Sickness; Avian Influenza; Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD); Heartwater; Rift Valley Fever; and African Swine Fever. Additional topics covered include the economic impact of emerging infectious diseases, the aims and objectives of the EPI, and links to other authoritative external resources on emerging pathogens. Much of the information available here naturally focuses on Florida as a 'sentinel state' and a 'reservoir state' for diseases of plants, animals, and humans.

Swine flu : updates from the DynaMed clinical summary
As a result of the global outbreak of swine influenza in late April 2009, EBSCO Publishing and DynaMed have made freely available the main elements of the DynaMed clinical summary on the condition, for health care providers and institutions. Information is consolidated from multiple sources on latest recommendations for monitoring, diagnosing and treating patients who have or may have the disease. The site offers latest epidemiological data, general information about the condition, causes and risk factors, complications and associated conditions, history, physical symptoms, diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prevention and screening, references including reviews and guidelines, and links to sources of patient information.

Seasonal flu
This resource on seasonal flu is produced and made available on the Web by the of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This US focused resource provides information for both the public and health care professionals. It provides information on: flu basics; preventing flu; what to do if flu is contracted; information for health professionals; information for specific groups (e.g. parents, schools, workplaces etc). New and updated resources are provided including a quiz, podcasts and questions and answers. Links are also provided to other flu websites including avian flu, canine flu, swine flu and pandemic flu.

New Search Engine Duck Duck Go

Posted by Celia Walter | 29 Apr, 2009


The wonderful people at Pandia alerted me to Duck Duck Go which is a new search engine that's trying to provide better results with less spam. It has a nice simple Google like interface, which is as minimal as you can get. Depending on the search query, Duck Duck Go (I have no idea why it's called that by the way) either provides a small factual box with information (which unfortunately it takes from Wikipedia; disappointing), asks for clarification (Duck Duck Go knows Apple can mean different things. Which meaning?) or displays a series of results, though quite limited. Any serious searcher is going to continually be clicking on the 'more links' option.

There is a nice shortcut icon bar to the right which allows searchers to copy their search directly across to YouTube, Twitter, IMDB, Amazon and so on. Nice touch.
I'd like to see this engine doing a lot more however. No help options! No RSS feeds, no indication of any options to allow users to search across news, images, blogs and so on, without leaving the site. While I was happy with the search engine it didn't hugely inspire me to be honest, and while a spam free search engine is great, I generally do find Google works pretty well for me in that area, and I'm still to be convinced about DDG. One to bookmark and revisit in 6 months or so I think. From Phil Bradley's weblog